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COFFEE: GOOD, BAD OR UGLY?

COFFEE: GOOD, BAD OR UGLY?
Daisy Akhtar

Some people love coffee – they cannot do without their daily fix – and others are ambivalent to it. But whether you like or dislike the world’s most popular drink, knowing more about what it does to human health and how to drink it is only beneficial. We tell you how in this article.

Coffee is one of the great dividers: people who drink it regularly swear by it, whereas people who are not big fans don’t understand what the big deal is. Some of these latter group even go as far as to say it might not be good for you. Research shows both; caffeine is an artificial stimulant, after all, so it needs to be consumed in moderation.

But here are a few nuanced ways in which you can view coffee.

  1. We haven’t established causal relationships yet
    Whatever research has been done on coffee drinking and its effect on human health have been in the realm of associations and correlations, not causal relationships. So we don’t really know how good coffee is good for you or bad for you and what it is in coffee that is causing the good or bad effect. One thing we can say for certain is that caffeine is a stimulant, and artificially fires your neurons, much like alcohol does.
  1. Fast metaboliser or slow?
    If you’re a fast metaboliser of coffee, you will feel alert and energised after a cup. If you’re a slow metaboliser, you may feel the jitters or feel ‘wired’ after a cup or two, and you cannot sleep if you drink it. On top of this, slow metabolisers of coffee seem to be at higher risk of other things like miscarriage, high blood pressure and PMS. Fast metabolisers don’t seem to carry a higher risk for any of these. About a half of us belong to the first group and the remaining half in the second.
  1. Drink it black
    Whether you’re fast or slow, drinking black coffee – or black variants of it – is perhaps the best way to consume it. Adding sugar and cream and other dairy products will only add unnecessary calories to it, and will also affect the way in which you digest it. So even a fast metaboliser may turn slow if he adds a dollop of cream to it. By all means have an occasional frappe which is overloaded with milk and sugar and froth, but make sure that it’s just a weekly treat, not your daily fix.
  1. Drink moderately
    What is moderately, you ask? One to two cups of coffee is just fine for many of us. If you’re a slow metaboliser, it won’t cause you any harm, and if you’re one of the fast ones, it might even cause you a bit of good by making you alert and attentive. Put the upper limit at three cups; if you’re drinking more than three cups per day, you might have to consider cutting back and replacing it with a healthier drink – like a cup of water, perhaps.
  1. The good side of coffee
    Coffee has been associated with many health benefits when drunk in moderation, like it elevates athletic and mental performance. It lowers the rate of some cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and Type 2 diabetes. It is also found to be associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Last but not the least, coffee contains a lot of antioxidants that fight aging and age-related diseases.

So have a cup of coffee a day, enjoy it, and don’t go over three cups.

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